In a few short weeks my life is going to become a whirlwind of activity.
My husband will finally be through with his two year remote tour. His homecoming is something we’ve been looking forward to for what feels like an eternity and that alone is enough to get all of us excited and create a bit of chaos in our day to day lives.
However when you add on moving our entire family from Miami to Italy one’s life can easily go from a tad bit chaotic to a downright tornado!
The key to not having your life spin out of control with any relocation is to be organized.
This article on planning your first relocation offers some excellent advice like scoping out the area and checking classifieds for rentals in advance of your move.
I’ve been doing this since almost the moment I found out we’d be relocating to Italy. Doing so has allowed me to figure out exactly what we’ll be able to afford as well as how far our money will go. It’s also given me some practice in the Dollar to Euro conversion rate when trying to figure things out like cost of living etc.
In the Air Force most families PCS during the summer, but we’re moving in late Winter early Spring so availability of homes was an initial concern of mine. However, since I’ve been checking the classifieds regularly since about August I’m reassured that there will be plenty of potential homes for us to choose from.
It’s been my experience that people not in the military generally think that the government picks up the tab for our move. Though they do cover the cost of moving and other expenses we still need to make sure we have the money to move and any other unexpected expenses that may come up. We’ll also need to pay for hotel rooms, food, and travel expenses from airports. Yes many of this will be reimbursed, but one must have the money upfront.
Being organized and understanding how long things can take to get done is also important. I’m going to have to organize our movers from two locations (our storage locker) and where we’ve been living with my in-laws.
Because movers will typically pack anything I need to be prepared when they come and have the rooms they are to pack ready to go. I’ve already gone through my boys’ closets and cleared away any clothes they’ve outgrown. I’ll eliminate more clothing prior to our moving day.
In the military and for most people moving (especially overseas) we’ve needed special documents from passports to visas. I’ll also need a power of attorney to “be in charge” of our move since my husband will still be in South Korean when the movers come. Keeping track of all of the things I’ll need and will have to do can feel daunting, but with detailed lists and having things organized well in advance I’m hopeful that things will go smoothly.
As someone who has moved quite a bit here are my five tips for a successful move.
1. To Do Lists are Your BFF
There is so much to remember with a move. From transferring or cancelling utilities to small things like going away celebrations with friends. Having an ongoing list helps keep you organized and on task.
2. Investigate your new city
As I mentioned earlier researching the housing market is important, but it doesn’t hurt to check out the neighborhoods in your new city, or in the case of a move abroad, learning about the culture, history, or even to begin studying up on a new language. All these things I’ve done, I’ve even begun studying for a new drivers license! It also doesn’t hurt to look into cell phone carriers and banking.
When it Rome folks! When in Rome!
3. Keep, Trash, Donate.
These three words so simple, so important. Before the movers come or you begin packing moving is the perfect opportunity to rid your life of things you just don’t use, won’t need in you new home, or quite frankly is just useless junk taking up space. This is also a good time to consider how long you’re going to be with out your items once packed. If it’s more than a few days or in my case up to 12 weeks packing can be daunting. It’s my mission however to go with as little as possible. I just don’t want to lug around so much stuff -however I know this is probably not the most prudent thing to do. However TLF (temporary living facilities) on base will have things like pots and pans and essential house hold items so I won’t have to worry.
4. Document, document, documents!
In the military especially an official move means lots of paperwork which seems to double exponentially for every family member when that move is take the military member abroad. From medical clearance, to schools, to your vehicle. Keeping track of all of these documents is important. As not having one can really put a fork into your plans. However even if your move isn’t a military one there is still bound to be paperwork, making sure you know what you need and where it is when you need it is crucial.
Moving is stressful. If you’ve managed to stay organized and things are going smoothly and even if their not-which let’s face it, even the most organized of relocation is bound to have a few kinks. Try not to stress. Enjoy this adventure. Good and bad.
love & becoming an expat,